The world’s best athletes with an intellectual impairment have arrived in London, Great Britain, ahead of the 2017 World Para Athletics Championships which get underway on Friday (14 July).
Many of those returning to the Olympic stadium – scene of athletics at the London 2012 Paralympic Games – are International Federation for Intellectual Disability Sport (INAS) Global Games champions, defending world title holders and Paralympic Games medallists.
Headlining the men’s field in T20 track events is Brazilian Daniel Martins, 21. At the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, Martins won the men’s 400m in world record time.
He made his international debut just the year before at the 2015 INAS Global Games in Ecuador where he won the 400m. Later that year he claimed gold at his first World Championships.
Polish teammates Sylwester Jaciuk and Daniel Pek are the 2015 INAS Global Games champions in the men’s 800m and 1,500m, respectively. Pek is the 2016 Paralympic silver medallist.
Japan’s Daisuke Nakagawa is the defending world champion in the men’s 5,000m. Two years ago in Ecuador Nakagawa beat teammate Ryo Kaneko to the Global Games title, with Kaneko settling for silver.
Portugal’s INAS Ambassador and Global Games gold medallist Lenine Cunha heads out in the men’s long jump T20. He will face tough competition from Rio 2016 silver medallist Zoran Talic of Croatia and Ukraine’s bronze medallist Dmytro Prudnikov.
Cunha is also the Global Games and defending world champion in the triple jump.
In the women’s track events Poland’s Barbara Niewiedzial is the Paralympic champion in the 1,500m. She will go against Ukraine’s Liudmyla Danylina, the Global Games title holder and Rio 2016 silver medallist.
Hungary’s Illona Biacsi just missed out on a medal at the 2015 World Championships but regained some form at the Paralympics, leaving with silver after taking the same colour in Ecuador.
Ewa Durska will look to dominate for Poland once again in the women’s shot put F20. The 40-year-old is unbeaten at a World Championships since 2011 and in 2016 won her third Paralympic title. Durksa is also the Global Games champion.